IBM protests $543 million Veterans Affairs award to HP for location system

AP file photo

It’s the second major VA contract loss for IBM in a year.

IBM has quietly protested the award of a $543 million Veterans Affairs Department contract for a national Real-Time Location System to HP Enterprise Services.

VA intends to use RTLS to track equipment and supplies with radio frequency tags at its 152 medical facilities and seven mail-order pharmacies. The department estimates it will require 80,000 RTLS tags for each of its hospitals and 3,000 tags for each mail order pharmacy. The location system will track assets by triangulating signals from the tags that are picked up by multiple Wi-Fi access points installed in VA facilities.

IBM did not respond to a query asking for details on its RTLS protest, filed with the Government Accountability Office on June 28, with a decision expected Oct. 3.

This is the second major VA contract that IBM has lost and protested in the past year. In August 2011, the company protested the VA decision not award it a place in the department’s umbrella Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology acquisition program for information technology hardware, software and services. The contracts went to 14 other companies. GAO dismissed that protest in November.